The Broadcasting Model – ABC/Disney has a different idea


Broadcast Engineering calls it a “shakeup” of the television business Model.

  • According to this report, ABC is planning offer many of its programs as free, commercial-supported downloads.

    Disney CEO Robert Iger is quoted as saying, “We will no longer be slave to the old business models because consumers just don’t care about them.”

    Of course, this will be interesting for local television stations and even cable operators. What do those local (and regional and national) players bring to the deal? With ABC news getting leaner and leaner, is the local news affiliate of any worth? Or is the news division – in need of live-access for breaking stories – going to be split off from entertainment, or does ABC exit the news business altogether?

    This is probably the first of many moves by national players in leaving the old, locally tied business model. In TV, the PAX network, WB and UPN were created to gain local access and cable must-carry into homes across the nation at a bargain rate compared to fighting with cable-carriage. But PAX seems to be going away, WB and UPN are merging — will there be enough home-shopping channels to fill these swaths of TV spectrum (and the added cost of running them in HD?)

    The ramifications in public media – and especially public radio – loom large. Disney / ABC is a very large company with many different interests. One would presume they are thinking that losses in the broadcast sector can be recovered, in part, through their deep and diverse intellectual property holdings. But what if NPR, PRI or American Public Media follow the same “direct” philosophy with their most valuable programming?

    Robert Iger seems unworried about what ABC loses – even at Owned and Operated TV stations. Some in public radio are similarly unconcerned about local public radio stations in a direct-connect world.

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  • About sehanley

    Musician, journalist, teacher, technologist, consultant & former NPR station manager. A media and entertainment professional, journalist, entrepreneur, technology advocate, educator, student, mentor, manager, and media, musical and theatrical performer. Voice talent and coach for music and spoken word. I also act and sing (mostly jazz, but a lot of experience with choral, classical and musical theater, too). Brass instruments, too, but my AF ofM card lapsed years ago. Heard on the national jazz service, PubJazz, and in the Pittsburgh market on WZUM/Pittsburgh Jazz Channel. I also teach college level courses in media and journalism. I managed the leading NPR/public radio station in Pittsburgh, PA for 16 years, a few years later was GM of the NPR station WBHM in Birmingham, AL. I served for six very busy years on the NPR Board of Directors and have done much volunteer service for national and local organizations in the communities I have been privileged to live and work in. Former NPR Board Member, former President of the Pittsburgh Radio Organization, sometime musician, relentless technology advocate. Opinions expressed are not the viewpoints of any employer or affiliation past or present.
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